|From the Orkney Library's Balfour Collection (Ref D2/19/16)|
The above document gives ship captains the legal right to impress men for their ships. Captains would sign over such documents to their Lieutanants, who were the ones to lead the press gangs. Additional unseen text on this documents bears witness to that fact, it reads:
"I Do hereby Depute Lieut Wm Balfour belonging to His Majesty's Sloop Lynx under my command, to Impress Seamen, Seafaring Men and Persons whose Occupations and Callings are to work in Vessels and Boats upon Rivers, according to the Tenor of this Warrant. In Testimony whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal this thirtieth day of April 1803."
In their Ernest Marwick Collection (Reference D31/1/6/15) in a transcript of a letter from Alex Skene on 6th November 1800 he states that:
"I assure you Sir that the impress service is to me the most unpleasant part of an officers duty and it is impossible to defend the propriety of it but on the score of necessity"
All information comes from the Orkney Library, the oldest public library in Scotland.